There are so many quality wedding photographers, especially here in Greenville and the rest of the Upstate. Nowadays, most wedding photographers are going to capture your wedding day as it happens rather than posing the two of you. So, with all of these photographers, how do you know which one to hire? What should you look for?
Do your research, and do your homework. Yes, you should run a Google search. But read reviews, and read reviews in more than one place (Google, WeddingWire, and Facebook are all great places to check out reviews). Ask around. Ask your friends, family members, and wedding planner who they would recommend. Look at each photographer's website. Look at each photographer's Instagram account. You can get a good feel for personalities this way, and you'll likely be able to narrow down your list.
Set up interviews. Call each photographer on your list, and see if he/she is available on your wedding date. If so, go ahead and set up an interview. You must meet your photographer in person. You need to ask questions (and they should ask you questions!), and you need to gauge their personalities. Is this someone you will get along with? Did they bring a portfolio or other photos to show you? Do you like what you see? Be prepared to discuss your wedding style and venue. NOTE: If you are interested in a large photography company/studio, unless you specify it in your contract, the person you meet for the interview may not be the person who photographs you on your wedding day. I highly recommend requesting that the person who will actually be photographing you on your wedding day be the person who meets you for an interview.
Request to see a full wedding album. Most photographers are posting their best images on their blog and in their portfolio. It's completely understandable. But if you're serious about hiring someone for your wedding photography, ask to see an entire wedding album. This way you'll get an idea of what all of your photos would look like. Furthermore, you want to see albums from weddings that are similar to yours. If your wedding is going to take place outdoors with the mountains in the background, you don't really need to see an album from a wedding that took place in a hotel ballroom.
Take the time to review the wedding albums. Is the lighting dark and moody, or bright and cheery? (Neither is a deal-breaker...it just depends on what mood you want to evoke.) Are all the photos taken from the same angle or the same perspective? Does the photographer use film to capture his/her photos, or does he/she use a digital camera? (Again, neither is a deal-breaker...it's just personal preference.) Do the images tell a story? And what story are you trying to tell with your own wedding? Do you want to portray a soft, romantic love story? Or do you want to portray a fun love story full of humor and quirkiness? Or perhaps you want your images to be more editorial like they came straight out of a magazine? Does the photographer's images line up with what you are looking for in the end?
Compare packages. Each photographer offers different packages at different price points. Ask about standard packages, and after all of your interviews, compare all of the packages from all of the photographers to see the differences. Narrow down from there.
What NOT to do:
- Do not hire a photographer just because he/she is running a sale. If you only hire a photographer because of a sale and fail to neglect all of the above, you are running the risk of not being satisfied with your wedding photography, as well as not meshing well with your photographer.
- Do not hire a photographer who shoots 100+ weddings per year. Do the math...that means he/she is shooting multiple weddings each weekend, and possibly some that are even back-to-back. Do you really want to hire a photographer who isn't solely focused on you on your wedding day?
- Do not hire a photographer who is a family member or friend. If this person is close enough to you, wouldn't you rather him/her enjoy your wedding festivities as a guest? Also, what happens if you don't end up liking the photos? That could become awkward.
What else? Any other advice you would give in regards to choosing your wedding photographer?